Every year since the inception of the College Football Playoff, most have clamored for its expansion. Its current four-team format makes it near-impossible for a non-power conference to crash the party, as Boise State did with regularity in the years of the Bowl Championship Series. Could 2019 be the year it happens? Here are five teams with a legitimate chance, assuming they win out.
1. University of Central Florida
Despite losing two quarterbacks to injury, the UCF Knights have earned the respect of the college football world after slaughtering their first two opponents – Floridas A&M and Atlantic, respectively – by a combined score of 110-14. Then again, almost anyone can run this offense, considering they have the sixth-ranked rushing attack in the country.
Their first Power Five adversary comes to Orlando on Saturday night, the Stanford Cardinal, fresh off a 45-20 pounding last week, so the Knights have to look like the favorites at home.
2. Boise State
Yep, these guys again.
The Broncos’ reputation for high-powered offense is alive and well, as they showed when they put up a 36 on Florida State in the opener. The key to the offense is quarterback Hank Bachmeier, who has thrown for 689 yards in the first two games, and is poised to pad his stats against Portland State this week.
3. Appalachian State
A perennial power in the Sun Belt, App State is undefeated and unscathed, with the conference’s highest-scoring offense through two weeks. They’ve also been relatively untested, their two wins coming against East Tennessee State and Charlotte. The Mountaineers have a relatively easy schedule – both a blessing and a curse, as it won’t do them any favors in the polls. Their sternest test will be South Carolina, who have proven themselves to be very beatable this season in an opening-week loss to North Carolina.
The darkest of dark horses on this list, Memphis put themselves on the map when they upset Ole Miss to open the year. Quarterback Brady White has been deadly accurate, connecting on 40 of 52 passes for 509 yards so far in his first season since transferring from Arizona State.
Even in defeat last week to Michigan, the Black Knights asserted themselves quite well, and throughout most of the game looked like the better team. The offense led by quarterback Kelvin Hopkins, Jr. has shown signs of weakness, only scoring 35 points in two games. If he and head coach Jeff Monken can patch things up, the Knights’ rugged defense can more than make up for it against an easy schedule, leaving Army to shoot through the rankings.